MOM THEATRE BLOGGER: FLY: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

flynewvicAs soon as I read about this play, I knew it was totally up my 13 year old sons alley.  What I didn’t realize is what a stunning piece of theatre this would be and how engaging I would find it as an adult.  In fact, I noted numerous audience members without kids, as this show truly has universal appeal, presenting an important historical piece with emotion, sensitivity and depth.

FLY, directed by Ricardo Khan, co-founder and former artistic director of Crossroads Theatre Company, and choreographed by Hope Clarke and Omar Edwards, tells the bittersweet and triumphant, heroic tale of the Tuskegee Airmen through the eyes of four courageous young men.

FLY is co-written by Trey Ellis and Khan with consultation from Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, a living Tuskegee Airman and former squadron commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group. The production uses striking video projection and the high energy hoofing of Tap Griot—a modern Greek chorus-like figure performed by the sublime Omar Edwards, who uses tap dance to convey a range of emotions—to illuminate the extraordinary bravery and determination of the first black military aviators in U.S. history who flew through the skies over Europe and North Africa during World War II.  FLY depicts the historic contributions made by the Tuskegee Airmen to the desegregation of the American military and the advancement of civil rights.

The stellar cast of eight  features Brooks Brantly as W.W., Ross Cowan as Shaw, Omar Edwards as Tap Griot, Anthony J. Goes as O’Hurley, Brandon Nagle as Reynolds, Desmond Newson as Chet, Damian Thompson as J. Allen, and Terrell Wheeler as Oscar.  We are moved by each of their strong, distinctive performances and feel their fear, frustration, loss, triumph and more.

The FLY creative team includes Clint Allen (Projections Designer), Beowulf Boritt (Set Designer), Toni-Leslie James (Costume Designer), Rui Rita (Lighting Designer), Jake DeGroot (Associate Lighting Designer), John Gromada (Sound Designer).

FLY has a running time of 95 minutes (no intermission) and is recommended for everyone ages 10 and up.  The show received a standing ovation, and deservedly so.  What a memorable way for kids, and others, to take in this vivid piece of history, including viewing some real life footage at the end.  And, how we can all learn from their determination and camaraderie.

Produced by NAACP and Ovation Award-winning Pasadena Playhouse and the Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre Company, FLY is playing at The New Victory Theater through March 27.

Originally commissioned by Lincoln Center Education, FLY made its world premiere in 2009 with Crossroads Theatre Company, and the production made its West Coast premiere at The Pasadena Playhouse from January 26 – February 21, 2016. This presentation with The New Victory Theater marks the production’s Off-Broadway premiere.

Tickets for FLY at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd Street) are available online ( and by telephone (646.223.3010).

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